A Century of Ecosystem Science by National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life

By National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Polar Research Board, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Committee to Review the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Monitoring Program

Record from the Committee to study the Gulf of Alaska surroundings tracking software and the nationwide examine Council. Softcover.

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Extra resources for A Century of Ecosystem Science

Sample text

Although it will require sustained commitment, long-term monitoring is an essential underpinning of the major goals of the GEM program, which stands to have great value as a model for how to monitor and understand other complex marine ecosystems. After all, the management issues facing users of Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska are much the same as those found elsewhere in Alaska’s marine waters and around the globe. Making long-term research the focus of GEM will create greater benefits to both basic understanding of the gulf ecosystem and its longterm management than would an abundance of short-term projects, many of which could be funded in other ways.

In the case of the GEM, these hypotheses might concern how energy flows through the various parts of the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound marine ecosystems, and how climate variability at annual to decadal scales might interact with human activities to shape the goods and services obtainable from these ecosystems. Thus, the science plan provides a guideline for the implementation of the GEM program and is the initial guide to scientists, managers, and other stakeholders as they refine the program.

The committee commends the initial development of data management procedures; careful implementation of these procedures is key. Recommendation: GEM should create a comprehensive Data Management Office (not just an archive but a group of people who address these issues). Other large science programs spend as much as 20 percent of funds on data management. The multi-decadal scale of GEM will require a similar commitment. 1 Planning Long-Term Ecosystem Science In 1989 the T/V Exxon Valdez spilled about 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska, setting off a cascade of effects that still have repercussions more than a decade later (Figure 1-1).

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